Even though it’s a blurry photo from the 1920’s, you can see these early Fairhopers (yes, that’s correct. Not Fairhopians or Fairhopites) performing a bit of Shakespeare in one of the gullies which formed a natural amphitheater. These performances were also held high atop the bluff, overlooking Mobile Bay.
If only those early actors could see what’s happening on their bluff now!
For three nights this past week,Â The Eastern Shore Repertory TheatreÂ performed, “The Music Man,” to huge crowds and drew rave reviews from everyone who was fortunate enough to attend.
Â Director Erin Langley outdid herself with her second outdoor endeavor, the first being the fabulous, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,” which was performed last year.
The character Â of Mayor Shinn (in the top hat) was played by our own Mayor, Tim Kant. As soon as the applause died at the end of the evening, a young man in the row behind me said, “That’s one cool Mayor!”
With the modern day conveniences of electric stage lighting and sound systems, it probably had a bit more “pizzaz” than the original productions from years ago, but like the oldÂ Shakespearean plays, it was a large testament to our community’s commitment to the arts.
The fact that the play is set in a small town in Iowa in 1912 wasn’t lost on me, since the founders of Fairhope originally dreamed up the concept of the utopian city of Fairhope while they still lived in Iowa, then traveled here and put their plan into action in 1894.
The lead roles were superbly played by Ashley Conyers and Cris Smith. Over 70 cast members danced and sang their roles with great enthusiasm. A few songs were performed in counterpoint, with two songs being simultaneously woven together. This was especially a great feat, since acoustics on an outdoor stage are often difficult to control, but it all turned out beautifully.
In addition to the Mayor, the children in the audience were tickled to see other roles performed by our local Fairhope Elementary School Principal, Terry Beasley and Art Instructor, Judy Humphrey. Â The costumes were gorgeous, and as the story progressed, the visual elements gained more and more color to match the excitement and development of the story. Very clever, indeed.
This was the backdrop as the action began on stage, just the same as it was for the community plays all those years ago. It’s understandable why this little spot on earth inspires so much creativity.
To learn more about the Eastern Shore Repertory Theatre, click HERE.Â
Thanks to my husband for shooting these photos every time I poked him in the ribs.
Yes, that setting is so inspirational.
My husband loves that musical (I don’t think his basketball players know that – ha!)
So great the school administrators and teachers could be a part.
I’ve heard more men say this is their favorite musical! I wonder why? I guess perhaps because a man plays the lead role — then gets the girl in the end, even though he’s a stinkin’ lyin’ type of guy. It’s my husband’s favorite too, so now I’m wondering . . . what does this say about them?
Jay and I drove by and wondered about this. I’m so disappointed that we missed it.
That reminds me of the time my Grandmother said she and Granddaddy drove past a funeral, then decided they probably knew the person, so they stopped, and sure enough, it was a friend! (Now, that’s a small town!)
Moral of the story, always stop. You never know what you’ll find.
We would have shared our picnic with you!
One of my favorite musicals! Fairhope is a special place. I’d love to have been there…wilted flowers or not 🙂
Ha! Those metaphorical wilted flowers are found in most towns! I’ll save you a seat next year!
How much fun! I have memories of traveling to Eureka Springs, AR as a child to see The Passion Play performed in a beautiful outdoor theater. I did not know that the founders of Fairhope dreamed up the fair city from Iowa. Have a great day!
I’ve heard that Eureka Springs is a pretty place, but I’ve never been there. What a nice memory. There’s something special about anything outdoors, whether it’s a concert, play or picnic!
Oh, I love that y’all are called Fairhopers! And the old snaps are just amazing! Love The Music Man. Saw it on Broadway a few years back but I’ll bet y’alls was even better. There’s no backdrop like that in New York. Hope your week is off to a good start.
Be a sweetie,
Thanks Shelia. There’s always banter around here about the correct name of the locals. The founders named the city Fairhope, because they had a “Fair hope” of succeeding. Therefore, we are “hopers” or . . . “Fairhopers.”
I’m sure the New York Broadway show was pretty amazing!
Your town sounds like the perfect American home…so many great community events and a sense of togetherness. Love your posts. Love the Music Man…my son works for Wells Fargo so I always hear the song about the Wells Fargo Wagon comin’ down the street when he talks about work.
For some reason, I didn’t remember that song, but it was so cute! Wells Fargo should put it into a commercial.
Thanks for the comments about Fairhope. It is a wonderful place, but we do have a wilted flower here and there, lest everyone in the world want to move here! Hahahaha!
This is amazing. Would have loved to have been there. How happy the children look !
It was especially fun to watch the children we knew. I was amazed at how professional they all looked.
I have a soft spot for the costumes in The Music Man, since I was in charge of those same costumes many years ago for a local production. It’s a wonderful musical!
What a talent you must have! I have a cousin who does costuming for productions in Atlanta, and it’s a huge job. One that is very important to the show!